He is beloved of Poldark fans for playing the good, kind and smouldering Ross Poldark, a man with a penchant for taking his top off.
But TV viewers will soon be seeing a different side to Aidan Turner who is to star as a dangerous wrong ‘un in a new BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel And then There None.
Turner will play Philip Lombard, a traveler and former military man with a mysterious past.
In the epilogue to Christie’s novel, one of the policemen describes him as having “been mixed up in some very curious shows abroad… [the] sort of fellow who might do several murders in some quiet out-of-the-way spot.” A dangerous man, Lombard carries a gun and is described as moving “like a panther.”
However he is also described as having a chivalrous and old-fashioned attitude toward women.
The plot of the new drama – to be made for BBC1 by Poldark producers Mammoth Screen – is set in 1939 and focuses on a group of people who come to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast.
Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr and Mrs UN Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realise they may be harbouring a murderer among their number.
One by one they are picked off by a killer who seems to be taunting the victims with an ominous nursery rhyme mimicking the awful fates of its ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’.
Douglas Booth (Great Expectations, The Riot Club) plays rich and reckless playboy Anthony Marston, with Game of Thrones star Charles Dance taking on the role of the cold and commanding retired judge Justice Lawrence Wargrave.
The adaptation also stars Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle, Death Comes to Pemberley) as the timid Ethel Rogers and Sam Neill (Peaky Blinders, The Tudors) as General John MacArthur who is haunted by guilt over an incident during World War One when he allegedly sent a man to his death.
Blackadder and Mapp and Lucia star Miranda Richardson plays the elderly and fiercely religious Miss Emily Brent with Toby Stephens (Black Sails, Jane Eyre) cast as the gullible and timid Dr Edward Armstrong.
Game of Thrones actor Noah Taylor, best known to fans of the fantasy drama for playing the warrior Locke, will be the dignified butler Thomas Rogers.
Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is the best selling crime novel of all time, with 100 million copies sold worldwide.
The story has been adapted by Sarah Phelps ( The Casual Vacancy, Great Expectations) and filming will begin this weekend. And don’t worry Poldark fans, the second series of the Cornish drama is due to begin filming in September so Ross will be back.
Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing Agatha Christie’s wonderful novel to the television screen for the first time. Sarah Phelps’ brilliant adaptation and this stellar cast will prove to be a real treat for the BBC1 audience.”
Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited and grandson of Agatha Christie added: “I am so excited that this, the most iconic of Agatha Christie stories is being made for television with this truly extraordinary cast. My grandmother would be thrilled to know that a new generation will be able to enjoy And Then There Were None when it appears on the BBC.”
Damien Timmer, Managing Director of Mammoth Screen, said: “We’re really proud to be working with Sarah Phelps on her searingly modern adaption of Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. With this extraordinary cast and director Craig Vivieros at the helm we’re treating it with the ambition and scale befitting of one of the great classic novels of the 20th century.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.